by Max Brantley
The groundbreaking we mentioned earlier was held today for the Arcade building, a joint project between the Central Arkansas Library System and Moses Tucker Real Estate named in tribute to a long-ago Little Rock building.
As Rock Candy has reported in detail, the Little Rock Film Festival and Institute plans to be headquartered in the building and preside over a film series in the 325-seat theater that will be part of the project. A new restaurant and bar are also in the mix.
Ground was officially broken today for a new, mixed-use building in Little Rock's dynamic River Market District. To be known as the "ARCADE BUILDING", the project is a three-story, 60,000 square foot structure to contain retail space, a 325 seat theatre, a restaurant and office space. The project is a joint venture between the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and Moses Tucker Real Estate (MTRE).
"The name "Arcade" is in honor of a wonderful, landmark structure that once resided in downtown LR on Center Street between 6th & 7th, explained Jimmy Moses, partner with MTRE. "As we continue to redevelop our urban core we think it is important to evoke memories of our city's past, too much of which has been destroyed over time."
The building's largest user is CALS, which will have a "state-of-the-art" movie theatre and additional archival space. CALS director Bobby Roberts added, "We have worked out an agreement with the Little Rock Film Festival (and its Institute) to be the host facility for the nationally acclaimed Little Rock Film Festival. We will also make the theatre available for events including the Clinton School Speaker Series, CALS Literary Festival and other public functions."
Craig Renaud, co-founder of the Little Rock Film Festival, said the festival will relocate its offices to the building's third floor. "Since our founding six years ago The Little Rock Film Festival has gained a critical reputation as one of the top film events in the United States. A grand flagship theater to call home in the middle of downtown Little Rock has been our goal since day one. We are proud and excited to base our rapidly expanding year round festival events in the new venue, which will rival any in the country." The Little Rock Film Festival also plans to offer an educational program to young Arkansas film-makers.
The $17 million development will be home to several exciting entities including a bar/restaurant to be called CACHE that will be owned and operated by RH Cuisine. Situated on the corner of Clinton Avenue and River Market Avenue, with space on the 1st and 2nd floors, CACHE will be a dramatic new food and beverage concept for Little Rock. Payne Harding, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, will be involved in every facet of the restaurant. He has recently been instrumental in the rebirth of 1620 Savoy in west Little Rock.
The restaurant is being designed by the nationally renowned restaurant design firm Johnson Studio of Atlanta. The restaurant will feature continental fare with an Italian/French influence. It is scheduled to open late fall of 2013.
The building's largest office user will be Meadors Adams & Lee, a 103 year old independent insurance agency that will expand to over 10,000 square feet in the building. "We have always been located in downtown Little Rock," said Roberts Lee, Partner with Meadors Adams & Lee Insurance. "As our company continues to grow, we are pleased to partner with MTRE and CALS in bringing this exciting new project to downtown.
In addition to Meadors Adams & Lee, other new office tenants will include the building's architect, AMR Architects and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. According to Dean Skip Rutherford, the Clinton School, which has space in the adjacent Arkansas Studies Institute building, will be adding a classroom equipped for distance learning and a multi-purpose room to accommodate its expanding enrollment.
The building developer, Moses Tucker Real Estate, is led by Rett Tucker and Jimmy Moses. "We are starting our third project downtown this year," Tucker stated. "The company remains very committed to expanding the offerings in the urban core." "We like to build mixed-use," said Jimmy Moses, "as it provides creative activity on a 24/7 basis."
The Arcade obtained construction financing from First Security Bank. Construction services will be handled by Clark Contractors and Central Construction Group. The building is due to be complete by November, 2013.